I have been away for 7 months, and came back today to see what was going on. I was so disappointed to read your post. After the first page, I skipped to the last one.

None of us know enough to really know what is going on in your husband's mind or in your mind. From this distance, and the perspective of being away, it seems obvious your husband needs to change the type of employers, coworkers, and clients he has.

His whole business is focused on people whose egos are not solid. They have to reassure themselves by spending money foolishly on expensive toys, and having other people fall all over them, providing service and praise.

Your husband, because of his childhood, has some need of the same things, just not the huge income to buy these toys. He gets to play with other people's toys, and works like a dog to have them praise him, reassure him.

It is a treadmill, going nowhere. Like the sled dog at the back, the view never changes. Sooner or later, he has to jump off, or he will fall down and it will dump him off.

Know that he is struggling with this every day at work, especially in this economy, with so few places to go. What he needs is to know that you understand the demons that drive him, that you support what he needs, not more beating him up for not giving you what you need.

This is where so many couples fail, at compassion, at understanding, at asking to be understood, asking for help in changing their lives into a seeking of positive things, rather than running from old fears. He isn't likely to volunteer his true thoughts, because that is a sign of weakness. It makes him vulnerable. You have to let him know that you understand something is wrong, something is troubling him, creating conflicts which he expresses diametrically opposite from what he really feels about you.

Right now, he is living selfishly, but it is out of worry, pressure at work, his self-image and insecurity. You are reacting by going to the same individual mode. Both of you need to return to a level of intimacy in conversation that will enable him to find what truly makes him happy, so he can better serve you. I suspect that will be with a clientele more down to earth, who work very hard for the much fewer dollars they have. He can respect them.

Me: 61
Dear Wife: 58
Married: 35 years